Last week, we shared Dave Kalama's secrets for reducing shoulder stress with correct paddling technique. To further help you strengthen the joint in preparation for paddling, here are a few of his top off-the-water exercises, along with some tips on form and photos from top exercise physiologist and ultra marathon runner Farhad Zarif, who has trained pro athletes from the NBA, NFL and other pro leagues. You can perform these once or twice a week, varying the amount of sets, reps and rest to challenge your body to adapt.

1. Pushups
Nothing new here, but try to keep your body in a straight line as you lower and then raise it instead of letting the hips sag, as many people do. Once pushups become easy, try the plyometric version, where you push yourself up off the floor with each rep, and elevating either your feet or hands to work the shoulders and chest through different ranges of motion.
Sets/reps/rest: 3 sets of 70 % maximum reps (so if you can do 10 pull-ups, do sets of 7), 90 seconds rest between sets

2. Pull-ups
Extend your arms fully as you slowly lower yourself after pulling your chin above the bar, and wait a split second before pulling back up to the bar. This will ensure you're not using momentum to cheat. Also, vary the width of your grip and hand position (such as one palm facing you, the other facing away) to work your shoulders and back harder. To take the exercise to the next level, put on a dip belt and add weight or hold your body steady for five to 10 seconds at different points of the up and down phases.
If you can't do pull ups yet, build up to it with a seated lat pull-down, or have a friend spot you to push you up the rest of the way when you get fatigued.
Sets/reps/rest: 3 sets of 70 % maximum reps (so if you can do 10 pull-ups, do sets of 7), 90 seconds rest between sets

3. Frankenstein Walk
Simply put your arms straight out in front of you and walk at a regular pace. Don't let your arms drop below parallel to the ground.
Sets: 2-3 sets of 2 to 4 minutes, with 90 seconds rest between sets

Photo: Julio Anta

Photo: Julio Anta

4. Battling Ropes
Grip two thick ropes at one end and move your arms up and down quickly to create a wave motion in the ropes.
Sets/reps/rest: 2-3 sets of 30-60 seconds, with 90 seconds rest between sets
Phil White

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